31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 2

Sarah’s blog 2/5/22

10.30am – I am so glad that day 1 is over! I did it but it was harder than I thought! So I needed a bit more rice than I intended but I think that is a sensible decision so I have enough calories to function. I didn’t eat anything after my dinner of rice and vegetables last night at 5.30pm…just a big glass of water. Junior wanted to do some painting so we got my paints out – it’s over a year since I last used them – and we both enjoyed making a bit of a mess lol. That was a good distraction but I went to bed hungry and my knees were sore from cycling 10km on my exercise bike. Up three times for the loo didn’t help so I was rather tired getting up this morning! However, I actually feel a bit better about food today and a bit calmer and not worrying about when I can next eat. So far I’ve had two big cups of tea and some cherry tomatoes. I’m going to have a big glass of water and hope to have some rice and veg after 11am. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

1.30pm – I had 2/3 of my portion of rice an hour ago mixed with 1/3 tin of mixed bean salad and another large glass of water. Not feeling hungry at all which is amazing compared to how I felt yesterday. I am feeling a bit tired though because I didn’t get a great sleep last night. Planning to do my 10km cycle before dinner. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

6.30pm Sore knees and feet from cycling 10km. I did it all in one go. I got to 7.5km and started struggling but managed to keep going….and I did it. Can’t believe it’s 6.30pm and I’ve not had my dinner yet. Still got a little bit of rice left from lunchtime and I’m about to make a big salad. So I’ve only needed one bag of rice today….I’m quite pleased with that. Just had a nice chat on the phone with one of the trustees of our charity giving me support.

As I said yesterday, I’m very conscious that I have a choice about what I am eating and how much I’m eating. I can eat every day and I am grateful for that. The 500 orphans and other vulnerable children whom The Foundation supports don’t have a choice. They don’t eat much every day. Some might not eat every day. They get a substantial, nutritious meal once a week at The Feeding Programme. Children come from up to 20km away for some food. Imagine walking 20km to have a meal and 20km home again. But what choice do they have? None. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The younger children are walking 5km to school and 5km back again…which is why I’m cycling 10km a day…to represent their journey. They walk, tired and hungry and I am passionate about wanting to improve their lives. They deserve our help. Please help me? Please donate so we can build a school and give all children an education. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Sponsored – Melise & Mwiza – update

This story is about the Mtambo family, living in rural northern Malawi. Not many of us can imagine just how tough life is for this family.

Sarah’s blog 4/4/22

This family has four children and a mum and a dad. That sounds a good way to start a story. Depending where in the world this family live they might have a big house and 2 cars and plenty of money in the bank or a smaller house with the children having to share bedrooms and only one car in their family. Life might be a bit more of a struggle for them but they still have enough to get by.

But this story is about the Mtambo family, living in rural northern Malawi. Not many of us can imagine just how tough life is for this family. Not many of us can imagine just how poor they are. Mum is trying to earn some money to feed her family and hold everything together. Dad is ill and unable to work or help her with housework or the care of the children. There are three girls and a boy. Mwiza, the boy is disabled. He is left to his own devices a lot of the time, sitting on a mat, as mum cannot spend all day with him as she is working and the girls are at school and nursery. Grandma sometimes comes to help.

The story of this family and the mother’s struggle touched people’s hearts and two kind people came forward to sponsor Mwiza and Melise. The other two girls, Thokozani and Eliness, still need to be matched with sponsors. Melise’s sponsor also wanted the mum to have some money to spend on food or what she needs so she pays an extra £5 for the mum which Levison gives her and for which she is very grateful.

Having two out of the four children sponsored has made a big difference to this family. They have two monthly food parcels which supplement what mum can earn, so it takes a bit of pressure from her knowing that her children and herself and her husband have something to eat. The four children have been given new clothes and blankets and Mwiza has received a mattress and lots of toys and books to stimulate him and build up his muscles as he reaches for them. A chair is on the next container for him too.

Mum has said to Levison that she is amazed at the difference in Mwiza since the family started to have regular food and he had books and toys to stimulate him. Also, Melise although just 5 has been given a place at primary school as she is very bright. Usually children start primary school in Malawi at age 6. The extra food is obviously helping her concentration and growth and also the books sent for Mwiza will be helping all three of his sisters too. Families like these do not have the luxury of books so children miss out on lots of literacy that our children have from a very young age. It is great that the books that have been donated and sent are having a positive impact already.

This family still need a lot of help and support but the difference so far is great to see. Having the ongoing support of The Foundation and the two sponsors is helping to change these children’s lives. I hope you enjoy looking at the photos and if anyone feels they would like to join the team around this family by sponsoring Thokozani or Eliness then please do contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for reading and for all the support we receive helping us to continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

“Just because I can’t walk, doesn’t mean I can’t play”

Sarah’s blog 29/10/21

Mwiza Mtambo is a boy who has touched our hearts. He has additional needs. He has a sponsor and so does one of his three sisters so life is a little bit easier for this family. Life is still very hard though. The dad is sick so cannot work, the mum has to do everything and Mwiza, because he cannot get to school, sits or lies on his mat most of the time. Even if Mwiza was able to get to school, there is no local school with staff and resources to cater for children with additional needs. Life isn’t fair. “Fairness is not giving everyone the same thing. Fairness is giving each person what they need to succeed.”

My background, for those who don’t know me, is Early Years Education, Additional Needs and Social Care. Although I’m not a teacher, I love this quote as it applies to everyone who cares about children with extra needs, “Some see the disabilities, but special education teachers see the possibilities.” Whether your own children have additional needs, you’ve cared for children with additional needs or worked with them. They touch your heart and teach you so much.

Mwiza had previously been given some books in which he showed great interest and his sponsor recently sent him a wooden trainset. This will help his muscles when reaching and hand eye coordination as well as something to stimulate him whilst playing. Mwiza’s sponsor and I had bought and sent a box of resources for Mwiza as he cannot go to school.

The next part of the plan is that there are 4 sponsored girls about to leave school after doing their final exams. They obviously have to wait to find out their results in a couple of months and Levison will discuss with them what they would like to do next; a couple of them have said they would like to train to be teachers. If their grades are good enough, we will try to support them with this and apply for sponsorship grants for their further education. In the meantime, they are all going to be helping at The Foundation. It will be good for the girls to help at the nursery and also for them to visit Mwiza at his home to read to him and play with him and see what progress he makes. I will be able to support with activities if needed and we can monitor progress. A great experience for Mwiza and a great opportunity for potential new student teachers.

Also we are going to source a low chair with a back on it so Mwiza is able to have some support as his muscles tire very easily. I love seeing photos of Mwiza and I hope you do too. We will do another update to share how Mwiza is getting on. Hopefully, this is an insight into how there is so much going on behind the scenes. Each child, each family, has it’s own needs and times of hardship. We are hoping that our group of supporters will grow as time progresses so that we can help more children and families in need. We all need a helping hand from time to time. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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